From Breakup to Breakthrough: 18 Ways I Got My Life On Track

I meet so many people who spend years dedicated to circumstances that depletes them of their time and energy — the job they hate, the relationship they no longer want to be in, dreams lost and desires suppressed. I was one of these people.


In the last year and a half, I’ve spent time getting to know myself and investing in me. I’ve been so determined that I’ve promised myself that nothing and no one will get in the way of maximizing my fullest potential and reaching my goals.

In early 2015, after nearly nine years in a relationship, I found myself single again. Almost a decade of my life felt wasted and I was completely lost. I was used to thinking in terms of ‘us’ and it was now just ‘me’. After all, this was the man I thought I would marry; having met in college, lived together, traveled and created countless memories together.

To be honest, I was in shock and emotionally distraught from the experience of a failed relationship. In my mind, this was the closest thing to a divorce that I’ve experienced.

A year and a half later, I’m a much better, stronger, confident and successful woman. It’s funny how it takes traumatic experiences for true personal and professional growth. That is precisely what happened to me.

I turned my hurt and heartache from a hurdle to the adrenaline I needed to fuel my motivation. I don’t advise holding on to hurtful emotions, but those experiences are times to reflect and think about what you could have done differently and what you can learn from them. It’s also a time to break bad habits and unhealthy behaviors that contributed to the downfall of your relationship.

I also realized that I had allowed myself to become complacent and too comfortable in my life and my relationship. I had someone else to split the bills with, whose successes I counted as my own and, as a result, lost much of my individuality.
Not only had my relationship fallen apart, I was not happy in my career. Though I had created a blog and platform and a brand, I still struggled to attain more lucrative and long-term opportunities.

The first thing I did was:

1. Let go of the hurt. While I won’t forget the lost I felt I chose to let go, let God and be better.

2. Instead of focusing on all the negative aspects of my life, I began to focus on all the great things that had been going right. I had a family that loved me and despite not loving my job, it provided a steady income to pay my bills, dine out, partake in extracurricular activities and even splurge.

In hindsight, I changed my attitude. Having a positive mind gives you a more positive outlook on life.
I also got very specific about my goals and what I needed to do to change my circumstances.

3. I set more precise goals and got specific about what I needed to do to achieve them.
I learned something else.

4. No one owes me anything.

It’s pretty easy to sulk and complain about why things aren’t working in your favor; even after you think you’ve put in all the work or why your relationship is failing despite being a loving and loyal partner. The harsh reality? You can’t force anyone to give you any opportunity or treat you the way you think you deserve. All you can do is, despite your highs and lows, push forward. Again, let it go. No one owes you anything.

In fact, those people — the ones you feel have let you down — did exactly what you should also be doing. Which leads to my fifth point.

5. Don’t compromise your own happiness for anyone. If you’re not happy with your circumstances, let it go. A relationship, a job, a friendship or whatever it is that is depleting you of your joy and peace of mind.

I went on job interview after job interview and felt like giving up, but, there was a fight in me that wouldn’t let that happen. I was determined.

As I grew spiritually (I am still on a spiritual journey), the circumstances didn’t all change at once but the way I reacted to them did and therefore:

6. I stopped putting my energy into situations and people that weren’t fruitful for my growth and got better at walking away.

7. I prayed and thanked God every chance I got.

8. I allotted time to update my resume, cover letter and applied to more jobs.

9. Anytime I felt bitter about my breakup or ex, I used that as motivation to do better. To be honest, there were times I felt devastated about having to “start over.” On a positive note, however, after becoming single I also had more time to take better care of me and invest in me.

10. I became more active. I’ve always been pretty athletic and into fitness but I became more disciplined and health conscious. In fact, I went on a 30-day fast that resulting in weight loss (about 10 lbs.) and my skin looked amazing. I felt centered and at peace. I was glowing.

11. I went on dates alone. That may sound weird to some, but I really dated myself. I tried new restaurants, fitness classes, and attended events and outing solo.

12. When I did need some companionship, I went out with friends. I traveled with a few even. This gave me a chance to really learn who my friends were and whose “friendship” I could do without.

13. When I got overwhelmed, I isolated myself in order to regroup. This included some much needed time away from social media. I’d never felt so much peace in my life by silencing the noise.

14. When I got discouraged, I reminded myself why I was doing all of these things in the first place. For ME!

15. I realized that my breakup wasn’t the death of me. It was God giving me a warning – that I was going to settle despite not being truly happy. I had to let go of that phase in my life to tap into my full potential and find me all over again.

16. I understand now that I am the only one who can make me truly happy instead of finding a
supplement for what I am lacking. No one else is responsible for my happiness and for giving me the life I want and deserve. So, I had to be willing to make the necessary changes in my attitude and life to get what I wanted.

17. And, it all paid off. Not only did I get in great shape, I left my administrative position for a private company in the education sector and now work as a full-time Digital Content Marketer for an events conferencing company in the health and life sciences fields.

18. Most importantly, I am happily single.

Toni is founder of women’s entertainment and lifestyle blog, Cotten Kandi. When not working as a Content Marketer or creating new content for herself and other media platforms, she works with small business owners on marketing and PR strategies to heighten their brand visibility.

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